Sunday Sparkler

Disco Ball Bottle

Hoo boy, another day’s temperatures projected to be above 30 degrees, this time with a pretty great chance of rain – you know, one of those summer storms that seems to heat things up more than it cools them down? And yes, I know it’s still technically spring, but tell that to the weather.

And my nails, which are jumping straight into summer with this very sparkly and simple mani featuring Finger Paints’ Colorful Collage, a name that sucks just tremendously. Clearly this polish should be called Disco Whistle.  Why does no one ever consult me on these things?!

Here I paired…sigh…Colorful Collage with Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri in Show Steel-er, a light grey creme, to brighten up them grey skies.  At least I can do that, even if I have zero control over the temperature… (narrows eyes) yet.

Disco Ball Fingers Shade

Diamond Dust

Skittle Bottle

Skittle mani style.  A skittle manicure, for those not in the know, is an every-nail-for-itself type of mani in which you paint each one of your nails a different colour, or one single colour (say, purple) but in a variety of tones, as I have here.

The purple polishes I used for these nails were, from index to pinkie, Finger Paints’ neon orchid, Pop Art Purple, Essence’s Color & Go in Break Through, Essie’s lilac-hued Play Date and Bonita’s lavender Splendid Love.

I then topped the whole works with one and a bit coats of Enchanted Polish’s Rainbow Juice (With Pulp), a sparkly holographic topper stuffed with silver holo flakies.  It makes everything it touches look like it’s been sprinkled with ultra fine diamonds.  I think Rainbow Juice looks the best here paired with Pop Art Purple, because the holograhic flakes play off so nicely against its lush neon hue, but Play Date is proving to be no slouch either.

Also, apropos of nothing, but it is so hot and humid here today.  I was bundled in a giant sweater yesterday morning.  Wither the spring?

Skittle Fingers Sun

Fabulously Fall

Fall Fabulous Collage

This amazing multichrome polish, Finger Paints’ What a Night, is like fall in a bottle, flashing a gorgeous linear colour-change that runs through the prettiest hues of the season, from strawberry red and pink, to yellow-green and gold. Best of all, it was an impulse purchase from off the clearance table at my local Sally Beauty Supply for the low, low price of 75 cents! Not that its clearance status matters – this polish rocks, applying smoothly and evenly, its foil finish giving the unusual colour change an almost textured look in certain lights. Outdoors, What a Night is an almost berry-hued multichrome, tinged with flashes of gold and green. Indoors, it takes on a softer look, trading some of that out-in-the-sun vibrancy for soft, salmon pink and burnished gold. So pretty, so seasonally appropriate and so nice not to have paid an arm and a leg for it!

Fall HandShade Bottle

Disco Ball

Disco Ball Hand

Oh, hear that, folks? That’s the sound of the disco whistle! Looks like it’s time to strap on your boogie shoes and hit the light-up dance floor for some super awkward dance moves and, somehow, the worst fashion of the last 100 years. But never mind all that, because you’ll be sporting these beautiful disco ball nails that throw more sparkles than the mirrorball twinkling prettily above you.

Disco Ball Fingers

For these simple disco-on-disco nails, I topped two coats of Orly’s so-appropriately named silver holo, Mirrorball, with two light coats of Finger Paints’ silver holo glitter topper, Colorful Collage. These kind of manicures are the thing we nail bloggers rage about all the time, because they never look 1/100th as beautiful in static photos as they do in real life, and indeed, this silver sparkler is no exception. These nails are just bananas in person, tossing off linear holos and eye-searing rainbows with every little shift of my hand, although I’ll concede they don’t look quite so awesome in photos. Although this manicure DOES look super awesome when magnified 15 times with a macro photo lens, comme ca:

109

Dripping in Diamonds (31DC2015)

Dripping in Diamonds Sun

Although I created these gorgeous, shimmery nails for day 17’s theme of glitter in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, I suppose they’d just as easily work for the upcoming theme of inspired by a song – or two songs, specifically Britney Spears’ I’m a Slave 4 U and Toxic. Remember those glittery nude bodysuits she wore? And the insane round of pearl-clutching her videos set off? WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?! Britney wasn’t ever my favourite, but still, to go back to a simpler time when pop stars would just hint at nudity and not, you know, actually get naked (yes, I’m a total fuddy duddy about that kind of stuff – if you have even an ounce of musical talent, you shouldn’t feel the need to get your tits – and other stuff – out at all hours of the day.) Hmm, although now that I think about it, Britney wore both of those diamond-encrusted nude suits in service of two iconic performances (one stage, one video) – neither was tied to the content of those songs (which, if I recall my Britney correctly, is mostly just a lot of panting, moaning and Auto-Tune.) So I guess we’ll stick with the generic glitter day 17 initially contemplated and leave the music for another day.

These nails were super duper easy, although the glitzy, finished product looks like one of those manis that would cause you to rip out all your hair in frustration. I started by laying down two light coats of Picture Polish’s Cherish, a pale nude creme speckled with holographic shimmer. I then dabbed on a couple of coats of Finger Paints’ Colorful Collage, a silver holographic glitter, right at the base of my cuticles, extending it down ever so slightly in a brushed-on gradient. Then, dolloping out a few dabs of Colorful Collage onto a clean paper towel (you need to get rid of the excess clear base), I picked up the slightly tacky bits of glitter, one at a time, with the pointed end of an orangewood stick before depositing them onto my nails in random, trailing lines. Et voila, dripping diamonds – supposedly a girl’s best friend. 😉

Dripping in Diamonds Bottle

Double Rainbow (31DC2015)

Double Rainbow Bottle

I’m skipping over day eight’s theme of metallics in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge and heading straight for day nine’s cheery rainbow money shot. I’ve got a bit of nail mail out for delivery that will help me make the most of my metallics next week, but until then, I’m content dabbling in, under or over the rainbow with these fun, sparkly nails instead.

To create this manicure, I brushed on a rainbow’s worth of sheer polishes, one colour after another, blending the edges as I went. I didn’t use any special brush for this, simply the ones that come with the polish and a bit of even-handed patience. Once dry, I applied a second coat of polishes across the rainbow spectrum. Once that was dry, I brushed on two coats of Finger Paints’ super versatile holographic glitter topper, Colorful Collage, before sandwiching it in with a final layer of rainbow jellies. Rainbow on rainbow (or IN rainbow, to be more accurate!)

Double Rainbow Hand

Pink Frosted Donut: A Then and Now Post

Pink Sprinkled DonutOne of my earliest nail art designs was Cirque’s rainbow-hued Kaleidoscope glitter topper over one coat of Nails Inc.’s Notting Hill Gate, a sheer, hot pink jelly polish (see below.) It made for a super cute mani, like those yummy-looking pink frosted donuts that only exist on The Simpsons, but my execution was ever so slightly off – the base polish was too sheer (oh, the horrors of visible nail lines!) and my nail care game was still pretty well non-existent (here’s a nail art truth for you, gang – taking care of your mini canvasses makes everything that comes after it about a million times easier. It’s very much like having a clean desk or a tidy workspace in that you can concentrate on your work because you’re not being distracted by all the mess heaped about your feet. Plus it just looks better!)

So with those lessons in mind, I decided to dip my fingers into the frosting once again and recreate that fun, sprinkled donut design, only this time with the benefit of hindsight and some appreciably improved skills. The end result? A manicure that’s really not so different from its predecessor in terms of design, but noticeably different in the important areas of execution and overall effect. Gone are the dreaded visible nail lines that came about as a result of using but one coat of the jelly polish (I actually don’t have a problem with them, but some lacqueristas RAGE when confronted with VNLs, as they’re sometimes called), the result of swapping out Notting Hill Gate for Fingers Paints’ Louvre This Pink, a sheer-ish, yet still opaque, raspberry creme that offers great coverage and frosting-like shine in two coats. Gone as well is the poor lighting and the inexplicably skewed framing, although those are issues I’d file under photography skills – not the best, but also getting encouragingly better – as opposed to nail art technique. Most importantly, though, this slightly updated manicure shows off the clean simplicity of tidy, nicely polished nails (even if those nails are sprinkled with an inch of rainbow glitter), a skill – yes, here in the nail art world it’s a skill – that has proven its worth time and time again.

One ought not judge a book by its cover, but in so many facets of life – nail art included – presentation is key. So try to keep your work clean, tidy up after yourself and look for those simple, easily achievable little ways you can update old manis to create new favourites that highlight your improved skills and breathe fresh life into designs whose only sins were being created at a time when your nail art game weren’t all that. To experience and progress – and those are sentiments I think we can all raise our pink-sprinkled donuts to.Jelly Donut

Saved By the Bell

Saved By the Bell

There’s something very 1980s about these nails, a throwback to the title card graphics of Saturday morning teen staple, Saved By the Bell. Being the contrary type, of course, I didn’t actually start watching Saved By the Bell (original sauce and The College Years) until a year or so after I myself had completed my post-secondary education. So long past the point of relevance, assuming it ever had any to begin with. But for a year or so there as I navigated the unknown wilds of new home ownership, “grown up job” jitters and the horrid realization that I really couldn’t cook, clean or care for myself for shit, there was no better way to start my day than with a bowl of Cheerios, a giant glass of milk and two back-to-back episodes of Saved By the Bell.

And while I’d never say that Zack Morris, Kelly Kapowski and company were my preferred gang with which to hang (that honour goes to another Saturday morning NBC favourite, the Guys Next Door), there was something supremely comforting about the way life never really changed for the students of Bayside High. Episode after episode, life was little more than Slater’s wrestling matches, Screech’s…screechiness…and Zack’s endless (and one-sided) battle of “wits” with Mr. Belding. And all of it wrapped in a neon-and-acid-wash blanket of major ’80s cheese. Sing it with me now! “When I wake up in the morning and the alarm gives out a warning and I don’t think I’ll ever make it on time…”

For these nails I topped a favourite bright yellow (Sally Hansen’s Mellow Yellow) with a neon glitter polish packed with fine matte glitter (Polish Me Silly’s Freckles.) Then, never really knowing where to draw the line between too much and not enough, I topped that with a neon blue glitter polish (Sephora Formula X’s TNT) and, for that extra special ’80s touch, a black and white glitter topper (Sephora Formula X’s Chaotic.) The pink I used on my index finger is another favourite, Finger Paint’s Louvre This Pink.

Love Is Like a Box of Chocolates

Love Is Like a Box of Chocolates

Or so the greeting card companies and Big Candy would lead you to believe, mwahahahahahaha! I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth and I generally find Valentine’s Day to be both a bore and a chore, but one V-Day, after getting rather horribly dumped the month previous, I contemplated rolling a girl on the street for the heart-shaped, red velvet-flocked behemoth of a box of chocolates she was attempting to negotiate down the busy sidewalk. That I don’t like chocolate very much and probably wouldn’t appreciate such a gift was besides the point; she just looked so delighted, presumably with whoever gave her the giant box of cocoa solids and palm oil, and I just wanted some of that happiness to rub off on me. Dem’s dark days in the aftermath of a bad breakup when you’re forced to soldier through your first solo Valentine’s Day without someone to give you crap gifts, let me tell you.

But on a much happier – although still seasonally appropriate – note, we have these nails, a nod to boxed chocolates, and my entry in the Valentine’s Day nail art contest currently being run by Beauty Expression by Luchessa and Polish Aholic.

Here I tried my hand (and index and ring fingers) at the negative space technique, wherein you polish your digits and then acetone-out your design down to the bare, naked nail. Which I actually did here with the little hearts – and rather painlessly at that – until I promptly filled them in with a butterscotch-coloured jelly polish for the perfect caramel “filling,” thus negating the, um, negation. But trust me when I say I did a slammin’ job with the negative space nails. And now that I’ve said it, it shall never, ever happen again! 😉

For these nails I used a veritable bouquet of mix and match brands, including OPI’s super popular off-white, My Vampire is Buff, OPI’s medium brown, A-Taupe the Space Needle, Finger Paints’ rich chocolate brown, You’re Kiln Me, Nfu Oh’s caramel coloured jelly, JS39, and for a dash of sparkle, Ruby Wing’s gold-to-red UV colour changer, Strawberry Shortcake.